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RE: [IP] Trained Spiritual Director

email @ redacted wrote:

An excellent complement to what I wrote about spiritual direction.  I would
only clarify a couple of items:

> Notice that I 
> said direction - 
> not guidance.  There is an important distinction there.  A 
> spiritual director 
> is not a coach, nor necessarily even a friend.  

While you are correct that a spiritual director is not a coach, a spiritual
director is *always* a friend in the deepest sense (as your later comments
imply).  I don't mean a pal or buddy, but a true friend who has the
directee's relationship with God foremost.  In fact, I will not direct
someone with whom I have a "buddy" type relationship, because it is
difficult to be objective.  It's much the same as one would find in a
relationship with a therapist or counselor.  The boundaries have to be

Perhaps a better way to say this is that Christ's commandment to us all
was/is to love one another.  That is not the same as liking one another.  I
expect my spiritual director to love me, whether he likes me or not (I'm
fortunate that he does, but that's irrelevant when we're in direction mode).

> A special requirement is a 
> gift or calling 
> to this ministry - because the spiritual director has to 
> invest a lot of time 
> and effort into the people they are directing.  

It's more than the time invested.  It has to be a special vocation or the
relationships just won't work.  In the Russian Orthodox tradition, a person
knows he/she is called to be a spiritual director (staretz, plural startsi)
when others start coming for spiritual direction.  Although I am trained, I
have never "hung out my shingle", waiting instead until others have sought
me out.

And with respect to monastic vocation, I am a Companion of the Society of
St. Paul, a small religious order of the Episcopal Church housed in Palm
Desert, California.  The Companion's rule is similar to the rule of a
Benedictine Oblate except that the Oblate takes a vow of celibacy.

I will finally point out that spiritual direction is not limited to
Christian faith and may be useful for anyone seeking a deeper relationship
with God.

Jim Handsfield, CSSP
mailto:email @ redacted OR
mailto:email @ redacted

The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of
my wife who runs this house and makes more important decisions than I do.
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